Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Vegan Spoken Here

A week ago I was out of control, eating every time I passed the fridge... or so it seemed. For a week I've eaten 3 times a day,  I recorded my food and averaged 325 calories a day less than what the iphone program Lose It claimed I needed to eat to lose 1.5 lbs per week. Result for 8 days: lost 3 lbs. Yea! Only 13 3/4 lbs. to go.

"Vegan spoken here" might seem unnecessary. At another restaurant, a vegan friend ordered vegan quinoa and had to leave it when he discovered it was loaded with cheese.

Snow in Austin this Week

A few days ago it snowed. 
Not enough for a full-sized snowman, 
but enough for a car ornament.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pictures by Uncle Franc(ois)


Costco

One nice thing about Costco is how easy it is to return what you don't like. I went through the house today and gathered up some recent purchases for return. In the pantry I found 5 cans each of salmon and tuna. The clerk didn't question me about the metal shelves or the water pitcher, but she asked about the fish. "I just couldn't eat them," I said, "I started thinking about how beautiful the fish are and I realized I couldn't eat them." "Are you a vegetarian," she asked. "Yes," I said.

Here's some neat links about fish for those that don't think they are beautiful creatures (I wouldn't eat a rat or raccoon either, though not because I like the way they look) or do think they are beautiful but like to eat them anyway:

OVERFISHING- pocket guide downloads and iphone app
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/  sfw_recommendations.aspx

HEALTH- pesticides, DDT, PCBs, PBDEs, dioxin, mercury etc can be found in fish — especially farmed fish (Target has stopped carrying farmed salmon)
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_health.aspx

Environmental Working Group has some neat tools/calculators for cosmetics and fish etc. See right hand column for cumulative tuna and other high mercury fish calculator.
http://www.ewg.org/featured/15

Some stick with "molecularly distilled" fish oil pills... or WILD Alaskan salmon from WFM and find that it's both healthier and more sustainable.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Eating Animals

I became a vegetarian after my friend, Carol Berger, asked me if I wanted to hurt animals. I said "no" and that was that. But I moved to Austin about eight years later and got corrupted by a Zen Priest. If she could vow not to kill... and eat meat, then I could too. Or could I?

I'm reading a book, Eating Animals, (sign in "kimmosley" / "kimmosley") by Jonathan Safran Foer. He talks a lot about the fishing and farming industries. He paints pictures very different from the romantic epic of the hunter with the bow and arrow. He mentions how we've reduced the fish population 50x in recent years. He mentions how chickens never see daylight, and live in a space smaller than a sheet of typing paper. And he estimates that the chickens used by KFC in a year would fill up Manhattan... and would hang out from the tallest buildings.

Tomorrow or Thursday I'm going to take back my cans of tuna and salmon to Costco. I'm wondering whether I should tell them that I couldn't participate anymore in the murder of these beautiful animals... or whether I should lie and say that they just didn't taste good. Or maybe I should say nothing.

My recommendation to you. Don't even get near this book if you want to enjoy meat again. And don't watch this video of the author with Stephen Colbert:  http://www.facebook.com/l/ff219;www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/264043/february-08-2010/jonathan-safran-foer " (thanks to B.Q.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Friends

Here's my oldest friend, Francois... well, not exactly... but we were photo buddies in college and have kept in touch for over 40 years. One time he thought that I should be painting on top of better pictures than the ones I took... so he gave me his bad prints and I painted on them and then won an NEA photographer's fellowship. Another year, he got the same grant. We've had lots of fun together. We both have sons we are proud of, but he has two and I have one. He doesn't have a daughter. I have one I'm proud of too. As you see we are competitive sometimes.

Addictions — a confession...

I stopped the addiction of making art every day... after a run of a few years. I had combined this addiction with constant snacking and constant tv while I was making art. Now I quit the snacking and tv... and the next challenge is to bring the art back.

Snow in Austin this Week? (Impermanence)

I guess I should get used to the weather, as it changes every day. It teases us, doesn't it? We think spring is around the corner, that snow only occurs up north, and then look what happens. And yet we are surprised, over and over again. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Resist Despair

This isn't quite a Buddhist perspective, which I believe would be to embrace dispair, or at least to accept it as part of life. I think what is interesting is how one conquers (or resists) by accepting, as one accepts the opponent's force in aikido.

Capital Wedding

There were a number of wedding photo shoots going on at the Texas State Capital. All appeared to be Hispanics, and all the brides and grooms appeared to be very young, and I don't remember seeing anything that looked like a father.

Texas Urinals

The Driskill hotel is where we'd like our house guests to stay. Rooms are $200 and up. Some are over 400 sq. feet. This is Texas at its biggest. Oh... the urinals have beautiful black rocks in them.

19th Century Guadalupe

Saw a wonderful exhibit at the Mexic Arte Museum in Austin. Going back today for another glimpse. A man came up to me and asked me if I collected folk art. I told him that I make folk art and showed him my iphone drawings. He invited me to join their club. My friends and wife said that I wasn't a folk artist. I disagreed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Weather

I've often wondered if we could all agree on the weather. Imagine if we could build a dome over the earth (or have we already done that?) and we could control the weather. Could we decide on a temperature and a humidity? Kind of reminds me of the three bears tasting the soup. Though one bear, at least, found just the right temperature soup. Imagine the debate. The skiers want snow, the surfers want warmth, the birds, the bees, and on and on. It might lead to WWIII! (Thanks to Bea for the original photo taken from her window.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday (In the Dark)

I wanted to read more about the snow storm Sunday and noticed that a sports event was preempting the wrath of the weather. But I didn't get distracted, figuring that something big was going on and I wasn't going to be a party to it.

Then this morning my neighbor asked if I had people over to see the Super Bowl. When was that, I asked? Oh, yesterday. What is the Super Bowl? I asked. Is it college or professional? He said one or the other... I think professional. Sounded like a favorite was playing an underdog, and the favorite might have lost. I couldn't retain my interest very long to hear the whole story... except something neat about a Austin boy that no one though was pro material because he was so short (my ears perked up, given my less than excessive height). Eventually New Orleans took him and in four years he led them to this big game that was yesterday. He started out the season 13-0, but then lost 3 games.

Then my cousin wrote about the "Who" half-time show in her blog (http://whatmeworryblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/you-be-judge.html) that I watched a few minutes ago. I couldn't watch the whole thing. Something seemed a little sordid about these old guys pretending to be young guys. And the pyrotechnics were not exactly my bag of tea.

So what was I doing yesterday? Reading 70 websites of churches. That's right, one after another, trying to find their essential info for a data base. There is a church for everyone... but that's another story. Hopefully next year, when it is superbowl time, I'll be more with it. Or not.

P.S. I decided to take a survey of whether other people knew about the Super Bowl, so I asked my wife (convenient, if not a random sampling). She taught a Sunday clay class, and said her students were talking about the game. They said that the midget quarterback was actually over six feet. "Six feet," I said, "I thought I had a chance."

P.S.S. Now I'm an expert. I found out that New Orleans won... and you need to be tall to be a quarterback because these guys run up to you with their hands in the air. Is there anything else I need to know?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spend Local, Send $ to Haiti, or Shop Globally

I'm having trouble with making posts these days. These ideas are rattling in my brain... but I'm a little timid about putting them out there. Here's another:

I like the local businesses in Austin. There is a friendly face that you get to know, and there is a heart that cares that you have come to visit. But there is an element of nationalism to "spending local" and "local" is usually thought of as a very small nation.

My neighborhood elist promotes local businesses as a religion. I don't let people know, but I shop at Costco when I can get something at a better price. And when I can't, I enjoy the little co-op grocery.

I was surprised at apparent inconsistency of the recent posts to contribute money to Haiti. Shopping globally is such a great opportunity to help underdeveloped countries. You might be thinking "hell, help?, we are exploiting them." IMHO, we have created much wealth for India and China, and now we are doing so for smaller and poorer countries.

I expected some support on this from my independent thinking walking neighbor, so I asked him "don't you think it is a contradiction to shop local and give money to Haiti." He said no, because he thinks of local as Earth. Couldn't argue with that!

In case you are thinking I'm having trouble with the "give money to Haiti" part, I don't. I just think we could be helping the world 24/365.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wise teacher doesn't see elephant?

A few days ago I had this image of a wise teacher standing on the train tracks. A train is rushing towards him, ready to end his life. The teacher was spouting off pearls of wisdom. I admire their focus on the subject at hand. And I admire how they apparently put aside the reality of their situation — that what they teach will in no way avert the train on its path. I'm also disappointed that, in spite of their great wisdom, they are unable to stop the train.